Emerging Contemporaries: Akka Ballenger Constantin, Mika Benesh, Millie Black, Maitlan Brown, Ned Collins, Lea Durie, Annalise Fredericks, Daniel Leone, Christine Little, David Liu, Denni Maroudas, Olinda Narayanan, Bling Yiu, Jonathon Zalakos. Intersections: Janet DeBoos and Wendy Teakel. Craft ACT. Until March 20, 2021.
Craft ACT is to be applauded for continuing to showcase the work of emerging artists, helping them to achieve professional recognition and experience. In this exhibition there are some commendable works on display. Annalise Fredericks has responded to our raised consciousness for personal protection with a clever tongue-in-cheek Knightwear catalogue with examples of aluminium armour. Millie Black's delicate little watercolour and thread works are meditations on solitude, serenity and silence. They also seem to be part of our heightened sense of self awareness and the world around us.
Two works in wood by Denni Maroudas - Sinuous bench seat and Rest wall hung cabinet - display a mature resolution of form and function. The artist's fine craftsmanship and his understanding of the characteristics of his material successfully translate into both sinuous flowing forms in the bench as well as the more angular geometric grid of the wall shelf. Both are creative concepts that celebrate the warm beauty of the wood.
Intersections is an exhibition by two well-known and established Canberra artists - ceramicist Janet DeBoos and painter and sculptor Wendy Teakel. Although they work in different media, there is a strong sense of communication and subtle crossover between each artist that makes for an inspiring and satisfying exhibition partnership. It is as if the dialogue that they engage in with one another transcends the actual work on display. Indeed, you feel that an interesting conversation has taken place not only in the exhibition but elsewhere. Both artists respond to the landscape in a visual way through the use of imagery but they also share a sense of being lost or adrift in its complexity, made manifest by the recent bushfires and our COVID-19 world.
DeBoos' affinity with China and its culture has been curtailed by travel restrictions. In the 2021 Fading series the very beautiful work Meiping vase stands out. Look closely at the imagery scratched into its surface and you will see two beautifully realised images of a lidded Chinese meiping vase - one complete and the other only half drawn. Both are depicted in a domestic interior. The form of the vase is ghostlike, suggesting a faded memory. This work can be contrasted with the small lidded jars from the Yesterday series. The immediacy of these works is characterised by their colour and vibrancy recalling a time when the prospect of artistic interaction through travel to China and other parts of Asia was a possibility.
Teakel's paintings focus on layers of surface markings using a visual vocabulary that brings together the textures and linear patterns of landscapes both seen from afar or in focus. Small scorch marks punctuate the surface of many works and interrupt the flowing lines like bushfire embers marking out their destructive territory. Bushfires that destroy but also create new life are explored in two large vases by DeBoos. The works After the Bushfires (Contain and Bloom) and After the Bushfires (Contain) are decorated by layers of glowing red coloured glazes and incised jagged red lines.
Teakel's inventive baskets were an exhibition highlight. Their forms made from salvaged rusted wire are formed like an Aboriginal coolamon and are held together structurally by wooden handles painted with earth coloured designs. They are an eloquent recognition of the spiritual connection of Indigenous people to country as well as a reminder of the presence of those who farmed, divided and enclosed it.